If Julia Louis-Dreyfus can be "Veep," then why not Hillary Clinton?

The notion has been kicked around in the media for more than a year, and pooh-poohed by both the secretary of state herself and the Obama campaign, but as the 2012 race heats up the possibility of an Obama-Clinton ticket is likely to be given renewed consideration.

R.J. Matson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch (click to view more cartoons by Matson)

Mrs. Clinton looks refreshed these days, with a new hairstyle and bounce in her step - so perhaps she's studying the polls that show the president in a neck-and-neck race with Mitt Romney. She's also aware of her standing as the most admired woman in America. According to Gallup, no other woman has been so named for as many years (16), and her approval rating of 66 percent makes her among the nation's most popular politicians.

For the record, Clinton has said she intends to leave government after this year. She has also stated repeatedly that she has no further plans to seek elective office, telling CNN, "I think Joe Biden, who's a dear friend of ours, has served our country and served the president very well. And so I'm out of politics, but I'm very supportive of the team that we have in the White House going forward."

Spoken like a good soldier. But doth she protest too much?

The last wave of Obama-Clinton speculation came in January, spurred by Bill Keller's column in The New York Times arguing that placing Sec. Clinton on the ticket "does more to guarantee Obama's re-election than anything else the Democrats can do." That was back when the GOP field was crowded with pretenders, and Romney seemed incapable of sounding presidential.

It was also before Biden ruffled feathers by upstaging the boss on the matter of gay marriage.

The Obama campaign has a tough row to hoe and all that really matters is which running mate offers the best chance for victory, Biden or Clinton? Other considerations - dropping Biden would look panicky; the Clintons don't really like Obama, etc. - are irrelevant.

An online poll by U.S. News and World Report shows respondents favoring Clinton over Biden by about 4 to 1.

Replacing Biden, who has served the administration well, would have to be carefully choreographed. But six previous presidents replaced their running mates while seeking a second term, the last being Gerald Ford in 1976 when he dumped Nelson Rockefeller in favor of Bob Dole.

Although Biden's name is on the ticket, a recent day's home page of the Obama campaign's Website showed dozens of photos and stories, but not a word about Joe Biden. If President Obama asked Biden to step aside and asked Clinton to step in - each for the good of the nation and the party - would either say no? Not likely.

The reason Obama-Clinton has not percolated beyond the punditry stage is that it didn't seem necessary. The Republicans were in disarray and the anyone-but-Romney bandwagon appeared to be rolling. Amazing how quickly things change. Romney looks stronger, and if he makes an aggressive choice for vice president, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, then the importance of the second slot will grow dramatically.

In 2008 hope, change and electing the nation's first black president were magic. In 2012, the prospect of a female vice president might rekindle Democrats' excitement.

It's a long shot. But if we've learned anything about politics in recent years, it's that life is often much stranger than HBO.


Peter Funt is a writer and speaker and can be reached at www.CandidCamera.com. 

Copyright 2012 Peter Funt. Columns distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Cari Dawson Bartley. Email [email protected], (800) 696-7561